Just a month ago, everyone was lamenting at how fast the year 2014 had passed us by. And now, I’m exclaiming,
WHOA…! IT’s FEBRUARY ALREADY?!
Gosh, 1/12th of the new year has sped by! February is a short month and what with the CNY festivities, won’t be long before February, too, will be over. So scary how time flies, ya?
Seize the day, peeps, seize the day!
Anyway, I wanna share my maiden outing to a Japanese vegetarian restaurant! Two of my (lovely!) colleagues are vegetarians and I’d gone for lunch with one of them last Friday. She’d brought me to HERBIVORE at Middle Road.
You can click HERE and HERE for more reviews of Herbivore.
Located at Fortune Centre, which is supposedly the mecca for vegetarian food… I didn’t know it till last Friday! Gotta say I ain’t terribly familiar with vegetarian food, although I did have a one week’s worth of vegetarian food when I was in Chennai, India, some years back. (And I loved it!) But Herbivore has a lovelier-than-imagined atmos.
From the outside, it looks more like a western setup, some casual diner. The inside is dimly lit and there’re ‘candle-light’ at every table. Nice ambience! I was very, very pleasantly surprised!
There were four of us, and we’d ordered two side dishes to share. One was the cheese shitake ($15) which came highly recommended by two of my colleagues who were there before.
The cheese shitake was superrrrrrb!! Okie, you gotta first know that I love cheese and I also love mushroom, so I could be very very biased ^o^
But they were so goooood! My only advice for you? Eat ‘em while they’re hot, and eat ‘em while they’re still there!
Okie, other than cheese and mushroom, I also love love love avocado. I know how this sounds, that my love is cheap… but no…! I really really do love all of them very very much! You cannot even begin to imagine the extent of my love for food, hee!
Here’s the yummylicious avocado roll ($12)!
The texture’s fab! And I savored every morsel, every bite!
For my main, I’d gone with the 10-kind sushi ($18) coz I was curious how vegetarian sushi would taste like…
To be honest, I had no idea what to expect. AT ALL. I mean, how would vegetarian fish slices taste like? Were they supposed to taste like fish? But how? And wouldn’t it be, like, weird? But what if they didn’t taste like fish? Then what would they taste like?
Hehe, if you’re curious like I was, you really should keep an open mind and try Herivore!
My verdict? There’re hits and misses. I’d liked some of the sushi more than the others. But they’re very, very surprisingly good and near-authentic!
It helped that I liked their wasabi; seems like Herbivore uses pretty decent grade ones.
And another colleague order Teriyaki Chicken ($12). I stole a piece and it was yummy! Hehe, it actually tasted a little like bakwa and bakwa is love is love is love!
It was quite funny… The chicken looked and tasted so much like the real thing that I actually blurted out mid-meal, “Hey, how come you’re eating chicken? You’re coughing and ain’t supposed to eat chicken!”
My colleagues broke into giggles… Well, how could that be chicken if we’re at a vegetarian restaurant?! *sheepish*
The ambience and the plating helped too. And of course, the wonderfully warm company I had last Friday added to the overall fab lunch experience. Thanks for bringing me to Herbivore, Jes!
And… one other thing that was rather unexpected is that…
Herbivore uses an e-menu system!
Yup, there’s a tablet at every table and diners can browse through the e-menu, which is sorted by side dishes, appetizers, sushi & sashimi, grill & tempura, noodle & stir fry, bento set, western, etc. Just order what you want by clicking on the item and you can also adjust quantity in case someone else in your party wants the same thing.
Here, sample e-pages of the e-menu!
The order will be sent to the kitchen once you’re done and yup, yup, they’ll start preparing your food!
So, that was last Friday.
And this is really random, but I love love love it when serendipitous stuff happens! The feeling is almost like having all the stars aligning in two perfect rows for you to pass through or something!
I heart serendipity!
Earlier today, this post appeared on my Facebook wall.
Since it’s shared by someone I have a rather healthy dose of respect for, I clicked through the link CALM DOWN SINGAPOREANS, THE COUNTRY IS NOT THE MOST EXPENSIVE FOR YOU.
Gotta say although not exactly very recent, the blog post is one fantastic read.
Not only does it put things into perspective, it’s a also very much needed reminder for us all that it’s important to stuff with context and perspective. So what if the survey was published by EIU? The context’s still important.
Do yourself a favour, fellow Singaporeans, go read both PART 1 and PART 2.
It’ll help you reason things better, It may even help you go through your life here better. And yea, it’ll teach you not to get your panties in a twist.
And… I was talking about serendipity?
Not long after I’d read the two-parter by Jay Teo, this Facebook post floated along my Facebook radar.
I’m a fan of VULCAN POST and am one of those rooting for them to eventually evolve into something like the Mashable or Fast Company from our side of the universe.
So, yea, I clicked into THE CHEAP BETTER FASTER ARTICLE.
Guess whose name I saw in the article?
And he’s started BIGSPOON, which is a mobile app that helps restaurants jump onto the e-menu bandwagon!
See what I mean by I really love it when all the stars align?! Hehe, I know this is random, but it feels almost exciting how things connect!
Anyway, I got a little intrigued by this Jay Teo person and I got to reading up a little about him. Hehe, other than HIS PERSONAL BLOG, I also found something interesting that he had uploaded on HIS SLIDESHARE ACCOUNT about a year ago.
He’s listed four main reasons why Singapore’s F&B labour crunch is here to stay:
1. Disadvantageous foreign worker policy
2. Lack of local workforce
3. Negative Singaporeans’ perception of F&B jobs
4. Lack of work satisfaction
You can more of Jay Teo’s thoughts on this subject HERE.
It’s been a year since that post.
Unfortunately, things have not gotten better for the F&B labour shortage situation in Singapore. We’re still hearing about how restaurants are struggling to even have the bare minimum number of staff for normal periods, let alone to have more staff to cater to increased business during the festive seasons.
I’ve even heard of restaurants closing for lunch and also cutting short their operating hours because they just can’t seem to find enough staff. Read more HERE.
Of course, expansion is also extremely challenging. Not the easiest of times for the F&B operators. So other than to try and keep trying to recruit and retain staff, the other way is automate whatever they can automate, and to be more productive.
And it doesn’t just hurt the so-called nicer, bigger restaurants. Coffee shops, hawker centres and food centres are facing the same manpower challenge.
So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when even the KATONG LAKSA outlet at Holland Village has also adopted technology to counter the manpower challenge.
Have you been to Holland V for laksa?
There are two terminals and a stack of ‘UFOs’ at the entrance of the Katong Laksa coffee shop.
Just enter your order into the touch-screen terminal, take one of the numbered UFOs and go in to wait your turn. It’s the same system whether you’re eating in or taking away.
The UFO will buzz when your order is ready. Or you can also look out for your number on the big screen inside the coffee shop.
Collection is at the counter, and you also pay upon collection.
And… enjoy! *nom nom!*
I suppose businesses will get more and more creative with their solutions and be more receptive to using technology to solve their manpower shortage issue. I wonder what other forms of innovation there could be.
These technological advancements and trends ain’t lost on the leading food bloggers too. DANIELFOODDIARY has recently blogged about the ordering system at Insadong Korea Town. LADYIRONCHEF; has also written about how restaurants are using technology. Pretty interesting, so go read!
Meanwhile, I’ll leave the info on Herbivore in case anyone’s keen to try out some Japanese vegetarian food soon ^^
HERBIVORE JAPANESE & WESTERN VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT
Hours: Mon-Fri 11.30am-3pm & 5pm-10pm
Tel: +65 6333 1612
190 Middle Rd, Fortune Centre, #01-13/14
P.S. Now I know why I had even bothered to take pics when I was at Katong Laksa. Hehe, it’s for this serendipitous post where a lunch outing at a restaurant with an e-menu can evolve into a blog post on productivity!
Image Credits: bigspoon.sg